Our WAC Philadelphia trip to Cuba in November, 2018 had a special
moment for the entire group when we made a stop in Australia. Australia,
Cuba that is and to be more specific at the former Central Australia sugar
factory. Unfortunately, in 2001, Hurricane Michelle devastated the factory
and it was then closed. Some of the former workers, now without a regular
source of income, had put together a presentation to explain how the
factory had worked in their days there. And, as they did everything they
could to entertain us, they brought smiles, questions, and lots of
participation. The former plant manager introduced us to her former
employees and each told of their responsibilities. A highlight was watching
the most productive sugar cane stalk cutter in a day (second wasn’t even
close) show his technique. We then helped press out some cane juice and
had a refreshing drink. To make sure we would never forget them or our
experience, we were treated to some great Cuban music by all the former
workers. By the time we finished, everyone in the group had participated
by either playing instruments, singing, and/or dancing. They definitely
made an impression on us and we were all happy to have had such a
As we sadly left our new friends, a quick stop at the factories main office
brought to our attention the importance this place had on April 15, 1961.
That day Fidel Castro made it his headquarters to lead his forces against
the Cuban-exile forces landing at the Bay of Pigs. This office had the only
phone for miles around. Remnants of the rebels planes are displayed
outside and the office is now a small museum.
These interactions and connections you make with locals of a country is one of the best parts of World Affairs Council tours.